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The Leo Frank Case PhD Thesis Dissertation by Leonard Dinnerstein (1966)

Author: Leonard Dinnerstein
Keywords: Leonard Dinnerstein; Leo Frank Case; Leo Frank; Leo Max Frank; ADL; Steve Oney; Pierre van Paassen; Atlanta; Georgia; 1913; 1914; 1915; Mary Phagan; Hugh Dorsey; Tom Watson; KKK; Anti-Defamation League; B'nai B'rith
Publisher: Columbia University
Year: 1966
Book contributor: Leonard Dinnerstein
Collection: opensource
Notes: Leonard Dinnerstein's PhD Dissertation on the Leo Frank Case 1966 for Columbia University Political Science Department.


Leonard Dinnerstein (born May 5, 1934) completed his PhD Dissertation about the Leo Frank Case in 1966 for the Political Science Department of Columbia University. The central claim of his thesis is that vast conspiracies of anti-Semitism were responsible for an innocent, Northern Jew, 29-year-old, Leo Max Frank, getting convicted on August 25, 1913, for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Ann Phagan. Without regard to the credibility or reliability of his sources that he cites, Leonard Dinnerstein makes it his mission to convince us of his hypothesis and uses omission, rumor, hoax, and fabrication, including misrepresenting the official legal records of the Leo Frank Case, to prove his position. Dinnerstein's dissertation became the species for his book, "The Leo Frank Case", which would go through a number of editions in its evolution beginning in 1968 with the first edition release.

To make his case that Leo Frank was innocent of the crime, one of the more interesting pieces of forensic evidence Dinnerstein posits is that bite marks on Mary Phagan's neck and shoulder did not match the indenture x-rays of Leo Frank's teeth. This alleged evidence was never presented at the trial or appeals of Leo Frank, thus Dinnerstein's underlying suggestion is it was suppressed by the State of Georgia in an effort to railroad Leo Frank because he was Jewish.

Excerpt that discusses the case of Leo Frank and Van Paassen's discovery of photographic evidence, pages 237 and 238:

The Jewish community of Atlanta at that time seemed to live under a cloud. Several years previously one of its members, Leo Frank, had been lynched as he was being transferred from the Fulton Tower Prison in Atlanta to Milledgeville for trial on a charge of having raped and murdered a little girl in his warehouse which stood right opposite the Constitution building. Many Jewish citizens who recalled the lynching were unanimous in assuring me that Frank was innocent of the crime.

I took to reading all the evidence pro and con in the record department at the courthouse. Before long I came upon an envelope containing a sheaf of papers and a number of X-ray photographs showing teeth indentures. The murdered girl had been bitten on the left shoulder and neck before being strangled. But the X-ray photos of the teeth marks on her body did not correspond with Leo Frank’s set of teeth of which several photos were included. If those photos had been published at the time of the murder, as they should have been, the lynching would probably not have taken place.

Though, as I said, the man died several years before, it was not too late, I thought, to rehabilitate his memory and perhaps restore the good name of his family. I showed Clark Howell the evidence establishing Frank’s innocence and asked permission to run a series of articles dealing with the case and especially with the evidence just uncovered. Mr. Howell immediately concurred, but the most prominent Jewish lawyer in the city, Mr. Harry Alexander, whom I consulted with a view to have him present the evidence to the grand jury, demurred. He said Frank had not even been tried. Hence no new trial could be requested. Moreover, the Jewish community in its entirety still felt nervous about the incident. If I wrote the articles old resentments might be stirred up and, who knows, some of the unknown lynchers might recognize themselves as participants in my description of the lynching. It was better, Mr. Alexander thought, to leave sleeping lions alone. Some local rabbis were drawn into the discussion and they actually pleaded with Clark Howell to stop me from reviving interest in the Frank case as this was bound to have evil repercussions on the Jewish community.

That someone had blabbed out of school became quite evident when I received a printed warning saying: "Lay off the Frank case if you want to keep healthy." The unsigned warning was reinforced one night or, rather, early one morning when I was driving home. A large automobile drove up alongside of me and forced me into the track of a fast-moving streetcar coming from the opposite direction. My car was demolished, but I escaped without a scratch....


Unfortunately, it was not even possible to X-ray bitemarks on human flesh in 1913 or today. Leo Frank was not hanged on his way to trial, he was hanged 2 years later. Who could survive a head on collision without a scratch in 1922, when there were essentially no safety features in cars. Was it "Harry Alexander" or Henry Alexander? The whole episode alleged by Pierre van Paassen smacks of fraud from the beginning to end, but became long perpetuated hoax at its finest, thanks in part to Leonard Dinnerstein, who blandly presents this forensic evidence uncritically as more proof that Leo Frank was framed.

Collection of Dissertations about the Leo Frank Case:

Stephen Brown, 1999 (PhD)

Leonard Dinnerstein, 1966 (PhD in Political Science)

Robert Seitz Frey, 1986 (Master's Degree)


Leo Frank and the American Jewish Community (1968) by Leonard Dinnerstein: (The source of Leonard Dinnerstein's anti-Gentile hate speech and death threat hoax against the Jury at the Leo Frank trial, on page 110, "Beyond the main testimony, the jurors had little more on which to base their decision than hearsay, rumors, and unsubstantiated accusations. Yet most members of the public were thoroughly convinced of the defendant's guilt and made their voices heard, The intense summer heat necessitated that the courtroom windows be left open, and remarks from the crowds could be heard easily by those inside. "Crack the Jew's neck!" - "Lynch him!" - were some of the epithets emerging from the more boisterous. Threats were also made "against the jury that they would be lynched if they did not hang that 'damned sheeny.'")

The Leo Frank Case (1966) PhD Dissertation:

The Leo Frank Case Book (published 1968 and thereafter):

To Number Our Days by Pierre van Paassen (see pages 237, 238 about the Leo Frank case):

The Leo Frank Case Georgia Supreme Court Case Records (1,800 pages).

Discussion Forum:

Learn about the Leo Frank trial and appeals by Professor Allen Koenigsberg of Brooklyn College at his discussion forum:

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Reviewer: Rob Barnes - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - March 1, 2012
Subject: Very informative dissertation
This dissertation is a good example of dissertation writing. I recommend it as an example of political dissertation.

Selected metadata

Identifier: TheLeoFrankCase1966Dissertation
Mediatype: texts
Identifier-ark: ark:/13960/t4zg7p43k
Ppi: 600
Ocr: ABBYY FineReader 8.0
Rights: Not in copyright.

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